Tooth decay is a chronic condition that forms when oral bacteria erode your enamel and infect your tooth. The condition leads to a cavity, or hole in your tooth, that grows larger as the decay spreads. In most cases of mild to moderate tooth decay, a tooth filling can restore the tooth by replacing the lost tooth structure after Dr. Olson has carefully cleaned and sanitized the cavity. Although traditional fillings have been made from metal amalgam for years, our office prefers to utilize white fillings made from biocompatible tooth-colored resin. Also known as tooth-colored fillings, they conform more accurately to the shape of your cavity, providing improved reinforcement and stability. The resin is also tinted to match the unique color and hue of your tooth, offering a virtually invisible solution to treating your cavity.
When to Schedule an Appointment
When tooth decay forms, your tooth will become increasingly more sensitive as the enamel wears away and your tooth becomes infected. If you experience a chronic toothache, then you should schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to determine if a cavity is present and needs treatment. However, Dr. Olson may also detect early signs of enamel erosion and cavity development during your routine checkup and cleaning appointment. A thorough examination can reveal signs of a cavity before your tooth grows sensitive, and early treatment can help you save your tooth from needing a filling.
If you hesitate to treat a cavity with a filling, the decay may spread into the pulp chamber of your tooth, which consists of live tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. In such cases of internal tooth decay, Dr. Olson may recommend root canal therapy to save the tooth from extraction, which can lead to a host of other problems.